Alcohol could revive Pearl-Qatar says expert

Lifting a ban on alcohol could lead to resurgence in tourism numbers


Lifting a ban on alcohol at the Pearl-Qatar could lead to a resurgence in the number of tourists visiting the man-made development, according to one real estate expert in the Gulf country.

Alcohol was permanently banned from the Pearl-Qatar in December 2011, causing a slump in revenues for a number of restaurants and subsequent closures.

“Reintroducing alcohol would certainly help the development's appeal for residents, as well as attracting non residents to come and enjoy the restaurants and hence add to the economic and social activities that help create a thriving [area],” Edward Brookes, Head of Valuation at real estate firm DTZ Middle East told Arabian Business Qatar.

Earlier this month, celebrity UK chef Gordon Ramsay weighed in on the row over alcohol on the development, which led to the closure of his Maze restaurant in March 2012. Ramsay told one local news outlet that he did not see the rule "lasting much longer".

“I think the legislation in terms of operating restraints - going out for dinner and not being allowed to have a glass of wine - I think it’s one turn-off for any local,” he was quoted as saying by Doha News, while on a visit to the city to open two new restaurants at the St Regis Hotel.

DTZ Middle East's Brookes said that the Pearl-Qatar's reputation was also being impacted by delays in construction, as well as varying quality between residences on the development.

Porto Arabia, a major mixed use project that includes residences, a marina and a luxury hotel, was originally scheduled for completion in 2008. More than four years later and less than half of the development is ready for occupancy, with 18 out of the 31 towers still under construction.

“Differences in construction quality between towers of the luxury district are also creating a misperception of the place, making some expats rethink their decision to live at the Pearl. Construction supervision should remain an imperative in ensuring the highest standards at the Pearl are maintained,” Brookes said.

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